Unanswered [6] | Urgent [0]

Home / Writing Feedback   % width Posts: 2

Orwell's prejudice against the colonized is inexcusableI; Multi-Source Essay

russhen 1 / -  
Mar 12, 2007   #1
I'm hoping you can help me with my paper. I'm new to writing and would appreciate some feedback on this specific paper.

Topic: Write a synthesis essay based on George Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant" and two other related essays.


Orwell's prejudice against the colonized is inexcusable. In his essays "Shooting an Elephant," "Marrakech," and "A Hanging," Orwell demonstrates his prejudice against the colonized. When he describes their deaths, he reveals just how insignificant he thinks they are. Even when Orwell becomes one of the colonized, he continues to be prejudice and show his inhumane attitude toward the trivial colonized. There are many aspects to focus on in his essays, but it's difficult to ignore the prejudice undertone.

Orwell's essay, "Shooting an Elephant" takes place in Moulmein Burma, now called the Union of Myanmar which is located in Southeast Asia. The essay begins when he is called to the other side of town, where an otherwise tame elephant has run rampant. When he arrives, he is briefed on the elephant's mayhem, and proceeds to question the townspeople about the elephant's location. When he gets contradicting stories about the elephant's whereabouts he says, "That is invariably the case in the East; a story always sounds clear enough at a distance, but the nearer you get to the scene of events the vaguer it becomes." He is referring to everyone who lives in the east. This statement illustrates his prejudice. Then he stumbles upon a dead Burman man, who he describes as a "black Dravidian coolie," that had been trampled by the elephant. Then he explicitly details the carnage. According to Encarta, an internet dictionary, "Dravidian" is defined as "a family of languages spoken in Southern India," and a "Coolie" is defined as "an offensive term for an employee who is treated as merely one of many unworthy of concern." At the end of the essay, Orwell tracks down the elephant and kills it with an elephant rifle. When he thinks about the consequences he might face for killing the elephant he says that "... [he] was very glad that the coolie had been killed; it put [him] legally in the right and it gave [him] a sufficient pretext for shooting the elephant." This statement shows that he did not care that a man had died; rather he was happy to be able to use the accident to justify his actions.

Marrakech is a city in Southwestern Morocco in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. It is also the title of Orwell's essay "Marrakech," in which he wastes little time revealing his narrow-mindedness toward the colonized. It begins with Orwell watching a funeral procession where he observes flies surrounding the dead body. He notes the fact that the dead body is not in a casket but rather "merely wrapped in a piece of rag," insinuating that the colonized are barbaric. He then belittles their burying ground and says that it's "merely a huge waste of hummocky earth, like a derelict building-lot." Orwell continues his prejudice and says that the colonized are "undifferentiated brown stuff" and that no one notices them when their alive, and worse still, remembers them when their dead. Orwell does however, notice "the overloading of donkeys and [is] infuriated by it" instead of noticing the overworked, undernourished colonized. Orwell is disgusted "when [he sees] how the people live, and still more how easily they die," and he thinks of them as something other than human when he says that he finds it "difficult to believe that [he is] walking among human beings."

In "Shooting an Elephant" and "Marrakech," George Orwell is a colonizer. In "A Hanging," Orwell is a prisoner in Burma, and one of the colonized. One would think that this different perspective would somehow cure or lessen his prejudice, but that is not the case. This essay has two different levels of colonized people; the prisoners and the condemned. It begins with Orwell, along with other prisoners, being kept from breakfast because they first need to witness the hanging of a condemned man. Then as the condemned man approaches his soon to be execution site, he avoids stepping in a puddle, which Orwell sees, and realizes that the condemned man is no different than him. Orwell then realizes "what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man," and the consequences that follow. This is a sign that Orwell might somehow be lessening his prejudice, and changing his views. But Orwell is unable to mask his prejudice and describes a "jolly scene, after the hanging," and says that "one felt an impulse to sing" and that everyone was "chattering gaily." As Orwell and the prisoners walk towards the gates of the prison, Francis, one of the prisoners, tells the guard a story about another condemned man. Francis described how the guards had to pull on both legs to get the condemned man out of his cell. Orwell "found that [he] was laughing quite loudly" without any thought to the horrific feelings that the man had to be feeling, and the fact that he was about to be executed. Although Orwell is not the colonizer, he still separates himself from the men who are to be executed.

There is no doubt that George Orwell is a great renowned writer. His books and essays continue to be analyzed and studied by students everywhere, but the terms he uses, and the generalizations he makes about the colonized in these essays, are prejudice. He uses the death of a man as an alibi so that he is not punished for killing a man's livelihood. He dehumanizes the colonized in order to classify himself as a human of importance. He calls the poor colonized workers "coolies," and ridicules Jewish people. Orwell might not have seen himself as prejudice, but his words, humor, and the manner in which he writes portray a different story.

EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Mar 12, 2007   #2

I think you do an excellent job of relating the three essays to the theme of prejudice! I have just a few editing suggestions:

"no one notices them when their alive, and worse still, remembers them when their dead." - In both cases, it should be "they're." Remember, if it means "they are" use "they're." However, in a formal essay, using contractions is generally frowned on, so you might want to go with "they are."

"realizes that the condemned man is no different than him." - It's really never proper to say one thing is different "than" another; it should always be "different from."

Sometimes you use "prejudice" when you mean "prejudiced." For example: "Even when Orwell becomes one of the colonized, he continues to be prejudiced"; "Orwell might not have seen himself as prejudiced" Remember, his prejudice made him prejudiced.

I thought your conclusion did an especially good job of summing up your major points. Great work!


Sarah, EssayForum.com

Home / Writing Feedback / Orwell's prejudice against the colonized is inexcusableI; Multi-Source Essay